Scholarship of Teaching and Learning Grants

People: Individual or collaborative

Duration: Three years

Funding Amount: 

Individual projects: Up to $20,000 Collaborative projects: Up to $40,000

Sample SoTL Grant Projects

Lisa Stowe – Faculty of Arts

The curricular peer mentoring program at the University of Calgary is modelled on a service learning model where students complete an academic-for-credit class in the theories of teaching and learning while doing a practicum where they mentor in an undergraduate class working with a host instructor. Through student-led research on qualitative measures like interviews and focus groups with peer mentors and host instructors, we know that Peer Mentors generally enrich the learning in post-secondary classrooms. But, to date, we have no concrete quantitative data to show us specifically how a classroom’s learning environment is affected by a peer mentor. One way qualitative researchers can measure classroom activities in a more quantitative way is by administering Structured Observational Protocols. Currently, there is no useful observational protocol that measures or determines how peer mentors affect learning in a classroom. This project will develop and administer a Peer Mentoring Observational Protocol (PMOP).

Creative Assignment Design: A Feminist Pedagogical Framework for Student Learning

Samantha C. Thrift – Faculty of Arts

Creative assignments are non-traditional and novel assessment methods or outputs by which instructors can gauge student learning; in my courses, these activities includes assignments such as digital storytelling, multi-media memoirs, interactive digital mapping, fan auto-ethnographies, and video chainletters. In my communication and media studies [COMS] classrooms, I use creative assignments to enhance students’ comprehension of the intersectional politics of media access, authorship and (self-) representation, identity formation, and community building through media-making practice. As a form of feminist pedagogy, I can use these assignments to target learning objectives that conventional assessment methods (ex. essays, tests, exams) tend to deprioritize, such as collaboration, adaptability, creative problem solving, risk taking, and self-reflection.

Traditional mechanisms of student feedback, such as USRIs and Arts course evaluations, focus on the overall “fairness” of assessment methods and the general “appropriateness” of exams and papers. However, these feedback categories do not capture the experiential and process-oriented mode of learning characteristic of creative assignments; thus, other forms of student feedback are needed to determine whether these unconventional assignments are having the desired effect for learners.

[Design studio matrix (DSM): Supporting the decision-making process as part of a reflective practice]

Fabian Neuhaus, Graham Livesey, Enrica Dall’Ara, Sandra Abegglen, and Mary-Ellen Taylor – School of Architecture, Planning, and Landscape

The design studio is the signature pedagogy for the design disciplines. This setting has developed as an academic, more formalized form of an apprenticeship and fosters problem-based learning.
The learning process for students puts great emphasis on creativity, analysis, planning and reflection. It is based around a verbal discussion supported by visualisations in the studio with peers (peer learning), at desk reviews with the instructor or at design crits with a panel of experts.

Whilst the design studio format has a very long tradition and is widely practiced at design schools around the world there is very little research into its practice. There are few pedagogical tools available to help plan, structure and record the learning process.

In one studio at EVDS we have proposed a new tool which we call the Matrix to help students and instructors manage the learning (design) process. It helps students to focus their investigation (selected topics), record their process (iterations of the Matrix) and reflect on the result and the process with the instructor or panel (structured discussion).

The hypothesis is that beyond the practical applications of this parametric tool for learning, it simultaneously helps to shift the focus of the design education away from the product towards the process and the reflection thereof. As a result, design decision-making becomes formally student lead and strengthens students’ ownership of their learning. Over the next two years we want to investigate the Matrix in its application and extend the methodological framework around it.